Free WikiLeaks Suspect Manning, say activists
A growing number of anti-war activists are speaking out against the arrest of US Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of giving classified documents to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks. Mike Gogulski, founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network, tells RFI that Manning's arrest is unjustified.
Dozens of people joined demonstrations in New York, Oklahoma City and Virginia this month to protest the May arrest of 23-year old Manning. The US Army has charged him with leaking over 75,000 classified reports on the war in Afghanistan and other sensitive subjects. Several anti-war organizations are also calling for Manning’s release.
If convicted, Manning faces up to 52 years in prison. He is currently represented by military-appointed attorneys, who have refused to comment on the charges. Gogulski says his organisation has raised 50,000 dollars (40,000 euros) so far to help hire a civilian defense attorney for Manning. WikiLeaks has pledged the same amount toward the effort, he said.
"I think the grand dream that I and many others share is that someone in the Obama administration will wake up and realize that what they’re dealing here with is not a case of treason […] but rather a heroic act to bring transparency to the prosecution of these wars,” says Gogulski.
“What we’re hoping is that by raising awareness of the case, we’ll be able to collect enough donations to mount a vigorous defense on Manning’s behalf.”